Security as a Business Center

Organizations generally justify security expenditure by citing risk mitigation and management, loss prevention and loss reduction. This limits the scope of security somewhat.

The security director can assist the real estate manager by tying existing monitoring and surveillance systems together with the building management systems to provide a conduit to the building engineers for remote management. The end result does not increase the security coverage or reduce the security department expenses. However, it does reduce the cost of managing and servicing the building remotely. By helping others win, you win. The bottom line in this model is helping other units in the company meet their needs.

The Quality Model
Many corporations today focus on quality. They enlist the aid of quality-focused consultants and service companies such as ISO and J.D. Powers and Associates to help them benchmark their effectiveness and customer satisfaction based on the quality of the products and services they provide. This carries through to the security operation as well. When the focus becomes doing the job right, especially on the first try, the approach taken to provide security needs to reflect quality.

There are several ways in which a security operation can adopt this approach. One of them is to only use products and services that are provided by companies that have achieved a high quality standing. If you purchase high-quality equipment you have an excellent starting point. To keep it high-quality, you must routinely test, adjust and re-certify all your systems.

Compare the nature of a commodity guard service, where cost has been trimmed, to a guard service that specifically markets quality. In the commodity service you would likely see minimum levels of training, often given only upon hiring and indoctrination of the officers. Sometimes this training comprises only six to eight hours of actual coursework.

In the Quality Model, not only are the officers given substantially more training upon hire, they usually will have regular training updates and continuing education that are not only site specific, but also industry specific. The result is a guard service that is much more versatile and competent to deal with a variety of challenges. Of course this also means that the officers will cost more. If quality is what you want, then you need to have the funding to support that quality.

The Business Enabler Model
If your business is attempting to expand by broadening its range of products and services, you may find yourself in the Business Enabler Model. Often new territory comes with additional security challenges and risks. If the organization becomes limited in its ability to explore these new markets due to security concerns, then security has the opportunity to become a strategic enabler of business functions.

I'll use an example of an information security situation to illustrate this point. Your company desires to have a more mobile workforce, particularly in sales and services. Management wants to use remote system access for e-mail and other system services over the Internet to avoid expensive leased lines and private networks. However, many companies have shied away from using the mobile workforce concept because of the serious dangers involved in using the Internet as a means of remote connectivity.

Here is an opportunity for the forward-thinking security staff, working in close cooperation with the IT department, to create a remote access security architecture that provides secure and safe connectivity. Establishing that secure environment takes financial support and project assistance. When security can anticipate the benefits of creating such an architecture and work proactively; the security department clearly becomes a business enabler.

This kind of model requires close working relationships with other departments. It also requires creative thinking and strong communication skills. The security director needs to research solutions from a larger range of sources across multiple industries to design the proper solutions. The bottom line in this model is to help other units explore new avenues for success that they did not even know they had available to them, all of which contributes to the overall success of the company.

The Visionary Model
Now let's break all the rules. In the previous models the work was always done using established and tested methods for providing security. In the Visionary Model we are focusing on creating something unique.